President Donald Trump has directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to begin rounding up migrant families who have received deportation orders starting today.
Trump announced last week that ICE will be deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants, as part of the hateful rhetoric fueling his re-election campaign.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump tweeted.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has reportedly been urging a more limited approach to detain about 150 families that have absconded after being frustrated by the legal process.
McAleenan is warning that a widespread round up would risk separating more children from their parents, a situation that has already earned strong condemnation from civil rights groups, the international community and many Americans on all places in the political spectrum.
Trump has employed draconian measures that have been compared to terrorism to stem the flow of immigrants to the United States, but making life worse for refugees, poor migrants seeking better fortunes and those who came to the US as children won’t improve things for struggling workers who lack collective bargaining power, health care coverage or fair wages.
Former officials and immigration experts said it would be unlikely for immigration authorities to move quickly to deport “millions” of people, but Trump’s comments put cities around the country on high alert.
ICE has been preparing agents and equipment for the roundup, even planning to use hotels as temporary staging areas to detain parents and children until all the family are together and ready for deportation, because there are not sufficient numbers of judges authorized to order victims removed from the country.
Officials know that people cannot be immediately deported but they will be arrested and released with ankle monitoring devices.
The president caught many White House and immigration officials off guard by announcing upcoming deportations on Twitter.
Experts say that telegraphing his plan would undermine the effort of sweeping up and deporting thousands of migrant family members in U.S. cities who were ordered to leave the country after their cases were evaluated by immigration judges.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is averaging approximately 7,000 deportations per month from the U.S. interior, according to the agency’s latest data.
With unauthorized border crossings soaring under Trump to their highest levels in more than a decade, ICE has been facing a shortage of funds and detention beds, and experts say that a large-scale push to arrest and deport hundreds of thousands of migrants would be exorbitantly expensive and highly unlikely.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!